The new Lake Saint Louis police chief thanked the city’s old chief as he was sworn in on Aug. 7 before the city’s Board of Aldermen.
Longtime Lake Saint Louis police officer and assistant chief Chris DiGiuseppi took the oath of office at a crowded ceremony before friends, family, fellow officers, city officials at several prominent local elected officials punctuated by applause.
DiGiuseppi succeeds Mike Force, who is retiring after more than 25 years as chief. DiGiuseppi has served as a police officer for 24 years and as the city’s assistant chief of police for the past 17 years.
His appointment was announced in June by Mayor Kathy Schweikert.
Aside from his parents and wife, DiGiuseppi said after being sworn in that “the next most influential person in my life was the chief of police who hired me.”
He added, “Mike Force was the person who coached me, mentored me and taught me. He was one that taught me a lot about being a police officer. He also taught me a lot about life. And I owe him.”
He thanked those in attendance. “I won’t let you down and I’m ready to get to work.”
He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lindenwood University. He is scheduled to start his new position on Aug. 11.
“We know you’re the best for this job,” Schweikert said, after City Clerk Donna Daniel administered the oath of office.
“We’re so fortunate and so glad that you are our next chief of police,” she said. “We’ve all known you for a long time we know the values you have.”
She said the residents and those attending was an outpouring of appreciation and support. Also in the audience were Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione, St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano and for St. Charles County and former St. Charles County Executive Joseph Ortwerth.
“We wish the best for you and hope you’re our chief for many, many years,” Schweikert said.
DiGiuseppi was selected through a national recruiting process and input from a panel that included Alderman Jason Law [Ward 3], a commander with the St. Louis County Police Department; Bill Charninsky, retired St. Peters city administrator and a former Bolingbrook, Illinois, police chief; retired Lake Saint Louis minister Bob Thompson; and Force.
The panel met with three semifinalists and recommended DiGiuseppi as the finalist to City Administrator Paul Markworth, who also recommended his appointment to Schweikert.
DiGiuseppi plans to continue and enhance the department’s performance model, initiated in 2016. He also plans to update current policing policies to provide clear and concise guidelines for department staff and enhance services for residents and businesses. A near-term goal is for the department to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies [CALEA].
In the last 20 years, the department and city have grown. Force succeeded John Selby and walked in the door to a department with 11 commissioned officers. The city’s population grew to more than 15,000, and its police department now has 31 sworn commissioned officers and 12 other noncommissioned personnel.
“The timing is good, I think. There are things going on in my life that make this a good time for it to happen,” Force said in an interview after announcing his retirement. He and DiGiuseppi have coauthored several novels.